With editing ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and writing my serial novel ‘Islands of Hope,’ I have had very little time to do other writing. I wrote a lot of poetry at the start of last year but have not for a while. Partly due to other projects and partly due to looking for a topic. I have actually wanted to write another for a few months. The other day the opportunity arose! The wife and I we were singing songs to our 1-year-old girl, when we stopped we noticed our 4-year-old, who was playing with some trains, was singing the songs but with different words. The last line of his song was, ‘polishing a sheep is a so hard job.’ We laughed and then an idea for a poem jumped into my head. It is about a farmer who does strange things to animals to get them ready for a show. I was going to write it as ‘ Polishing a sheep is a very hard job’ but felt what my son said, whilst grammatically incorrect, sounded better. I tried rhyming but it felt forced, when I went without I felt I could write it like a conversation, or rather one person talking at another. I think it is best to read in a stereotypical British West Country accent because that is how I wrote it, partly due to the grammar errors in the title. You can read it below or go to my poetry collection ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read’ on wattpad. Oh yeah, if it is not clear, don’t try any of this at home!
Polishing a sheep is a so hard job
Polishing a sheep is a so hard job
They runs away when they see you
And you just gets one then they hear
That psst psst spraying and they’re gone
When the polish is on you gots to rub it in
But it mats up all the fur real bad
You gets a comb and pull and pull
Then you can get that real good shine
And it’s all worth the work you puts in
If all gets too much then remember this
They’ve got to be ready for the show
Ironing a chicken is a so hard job
They don’t like the heat you see
So yous has to iron from a distance
And that don’t always make them feathers flat
But get in too close and push too hard
Then the feathers burn and go black
Now no-one ever wants that
Especially not the chicken herselves
So though yous got to hold tight
You need to caress her and keep her calm cause
She’s got to be ready for the show
Hoovering a cow is a so hard job
You sees they gets lots of crumbs on em’
Not like biscuit or cakes but more likes mud
Now these ones are easier to catch
And if yous skilled you get on their backs
But they has lots a crannies about
The worst bit by far is the udders you see
When yous got that little hose they pop in
Then you pull it off and another is in
When milk comes out the hoover don’t like that but
She’s got to be ready for the show
But the hardest job is mopping a duck
You might say, why mop a duck who live in pond?
Well, pond water is the wrong type o’ water
And you can’t put cleaner in them ponds
Or else it makes duck sick you see
So I have to stretch over with mop in hand
But it just slips off his downy feathers
And off he swims, quacking out laughter
Once I fell in and thought why do I bother
But you know why I keep going? Cause
He’s got to be ready for the show
And when the show comes
They won’t laugh at what I do
First in show, four times through
And the prize is just a bonus
For the pride I feel in my heart
I polished the sheep
I ironed the chicken
I hoovered the cow
And I mopped the duck
All so they were ready for the show
Now, where’s that goat? He ain’t gonna descale himself
Well here we are again, another Saturday, another ‘Islands of Hope’ update. You know I think I use that phrase a lot as well as the one that will inevitably be at the end of this post. This week I have, somehow, managed to finish off Chapter 13. It has been a great week to show that you can be snowed under with work, and whilst working really hard still achieving a decent amount of writing. I am finding that when I have strong ideas about the story the words just seem to flow. Anyhow, this week sees the completion of Ukrit and Martha’s meeting and sees her join the flock of dissenters in Princips Ltd. Back to the main character of Kira next, but for now you can enjoy Chapter 13 here or start from the beginning here. Hope you are enjoying the story so far, feel free to leave me any comments about it.
Here we are again, back to normal with the latest ‘Islands of Hope’ update being on a Saturday. Managed to get around 700 words down this week as could write on my phone whilst I was away. Back to work meant I did not manage any more than that and only got part way through Chapter 13. This update is Martha and Ukrit’s meeting at Joshua’s, which if you did not guess already is a bar. I have some exciting plans for the two, well I have exciting plans for one of them, but which one? You’ll have to keep reading the updates. There has been another change to the book this week, original it was set in 2145 but I felt for the history of the world to be wiped by an evil corporation they would need more time so I gave them an extra hundred years, the book is now set in 2245. Right, let’s finish with the usual line, you can read Chapter 13 here or start from the beginning here.
It’s my first post of 2018 and, surprise surprise, it is an ‘Islands of Hope’ update. The surprise is that it is a Thursday rather than Saturday update. Don’t worry I haven’t gone mad, I am just away this weekend so will not be able to update on Saturday. It’s the last trip to visit family before the end of the festivities. Back to work next week but I still intend to update weekly.
Right, on to this week’s update. It’s one I really enjoyed writing and flew out of my fingers. Two days shorter between updates but still managed nearly a thousand words. I completed the whole of Chapter 12, and it is a part of the story I did not envisage at the start. Working in pantster mode week by week can bring some great developments. In Chapter 12 we meet Kira’s Mum in search of information about her daughter’s whereabouts. She goes to a local gang for help, which it turns out she has history with. Writing someone like the gang leader, Solomon, is always a joy. Throw your morals out the window and remember this is not the real world and you can be as nasty as you want. He is the sort of character I would detest in real life but love in a book. All in all I am really happy with this update and it gives some good backstory to flesh out characters. As usual you can read it on wattpad, Chapter 12 is here or you can start from the beginning here.
So here we are, it is New Year’s Eve and I am at home. Not because I am some sort of loser (I am but that is by the by!) but because I have children and all my friends who live near me have children and there is no childcare. On top of that I always feel New Year’s parties are a bit of enforced fun so do not mind missing out, although I will go if I ever get invited!
Anyhow, it is the last day of 2017 and so it is the time to do one of those reviews of the year. Nothing like a good self-indulgent blog post to end the year! So here goes…
A few year ago I noticed that I was not hitting targets set for myself; work and family life are so busy that I never get anything done in the time frame I expect. I decided for one year to say that my target was just to write. That year was last year and was my most effective year of writing. I decided to do the same this year and, guess what? Yeah I have written even more. So much so that I cannot review in just a few built points so I am going to use different headings this time around…
I continued to write poems sporadically in 2017 and place them in my collection ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read.’ If you feel inclined you can read all my poems on wattpad. I managed five poems in 2017, the first of which was posted on the first day of the year (don’t expect the same to happen next year i.e. tomorrow!) and is about how my daughter keeps slyly stealing my glasses. It is entitled ‘The Glasses Ninja.’ I really wanted to move away from comic poems and my wife told me that my rhymes are a bit forced so I spent the longest I have ever spent on a poem writing ‘The Tale of the Vitae Plant.’ This poem was written for National Poetry Month and is about a great voyage, I tried to make a rhythm but it did not work so it really does dispense with many literary effects. I tried to evoke the feeling of an old poem set in the 1800s, I hope I achieved that.
With two children now running about parenting was getting difficult in April so I put my frustrations into a poem entitled ‘Parenting (or I love you but please leave me alone for five minutes).’ It is a tongue in cheek look at the stresses of being a parent and just wanting a little time to yourself. For the next poem I tried something a little different, I was trying to emulate Dr. Seuss as I had been reading a lot to my son, I therefore went for a nonsense poem about a farmer, where I created a range of funny animals. The poem is called ‘The Nonsense Farmer.’ The last poem of the year was in September and was released for National Poetry Day. I did not really like the theme of freedom that was given but tried to create something. Everything I thought of felt a little fluffy and unreal so I finally settled on an acrostic poem entitled ‘Freedom’ but linked it to being a slave to technology. I think that it is quite clever by you might not! The poems dried up after September due to another project which I will talk about later.
The First Flash of Hope
I had written a flash fiction story for publication in a free magazine the other year that did not get published. I enjoyed writing a story in only a thousand words so decided I would complete a book of twenty of them. As the first story was sci-fi I thought I would do all of them under the genre of sci-fi. I had made a list of some stories I could do but left it there. The plan was to release it only on Smashwords. However I realised I would never get it done unless I wrote them sporadically and updated slowly on wattpad. So this year I started releasing sci-fi flash fiction under the title of ‘The First Flash of Hope.’ The first was released in February and is the story that I tried to get published in a magazine, it is entitled ‘The Other Side of Mars.’ Even though I have a list of topics, the next flash fiction update, in April, was a new idea that sprung into my head. It is about a person who has a bionic arm fitted only for it to be used to hack information, unbeknown to the lead character. It is called ‘Bionic Hacker.’ The last flash fiction piece of the year was a little bit sillier, it looked at a planet that was ruled by ducks, a bit of a pastiche of Planet of the Apes. However, at the end all is not what it seems. The story is called ‘Planet of the Ducks.’ It was released in June and was the last flash fiction I wrote in 2017, again this was due to the project I will mention later.
A Close Shave with Destiny
If you have followed this blog you will know that I have written a fantasy novella set in a moustache entitled ‘A Close Shave with Destiny.’ I have been editing it for a long while as I intend to charge for it, releasing it in print and ebook, so want to make it the best I possibly can. This year I have finished two passes of it and got feedback from a beta reader. I am now running the book through my editing program, Pro Writing Aid. Once done it will, finally, be ready to release. I did manage to do something else I was very proud of this year, not only did I create the cover but I actually drew the image on the front. As I am a terrible drawer I am quite impressed with what I produced, you can see it here.
The Fifth Coin
Again, if you have followed this blog you will know that I have been writing a novel called ‘The Fifth Coin.’ This is a young adult novel that I won NaNoWriMo with last year, I did not take part this year due to time constraints. I am at the editing stage and have finished two passes of this but am not focusing on it at the moment, instead I want to continue with the other project and getting ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ released. You may or may not hear more about this next year.
Islands of Hope
The other project I have mentioned is ‘Islands of Hope.’ This came about after talking to a friend who told me of a serial novel he really enjoyed. I thought that by setting myself the challenge of writing something each week and updating it I could at least be releasing some of my work and building up a novel. I have been writing between five hundred and a thousand words each week and editing them using Pro Writing Aid then uploading to wattpad. The novel is a sci-fi one about a dystopian future where a company has taken over most of the world. A girl steals some bread and is taken in by the company then sold on as a slave only to be sold to the revolution. So far it is around thirteen thousand words long but is growing each week. You can read it by going here.
Right, so it appears I actually did quite a lot of writing this year! I suppose I should talk about plans for next year. It seems that the idea of ‘just writing’ works well for me. I will say this though, I hope to publish ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and hope I continue to keep up the ‘Islands of Hope’ updates. Ok, so that is it, I hope I have not waffled to much. All that is left to say is have a happy new year and a great 2018 and here’s to more successes!
This week’s update is a bit longer at nearly 800 words, and it could have been longer but it felt right to make Chapter 11 short. I did not want finding Kira to take too long, but this chapter did allow me to build character a bit more, even if it is the thing I hate writing most, LOVE! Well relationship stuff. I also have a confession to make, I said this was going to be a pantster project but I have planned the next few chapters a bit. Ok it’s just a sentence but there are so many ideas in my head. Anyway, it’s my project so I’ll change the rules if I want! Actually I am just glad I am keeping up with my update schedule. Right, you can get yourself to wattpad and read Chapter 11 here or start from the beginning here.
So that larger update I talked about, not happening! Yes I am off work for Christmas but I forgot how much organising it takes when you have two young kids. I have managed to finish Chapter 10 though, it is a short chapter but does show you that revolution is not only taking place in the Channel Islands but also inside Princips Ltd. It has also given me some ideas for how the story can move forward on more than one front. We will be back with Kira next chapter but will then move to a new set of people. Anyhow, all there is to say is Merry Christmas and the usual fact that you can read Chapter 10 on wattpad here or start from the beginning here.